7.26.2007

who does he think he is, Christo?

I've "shared" a few more items from my various blog subscriptions recently (even a few about SYTYCD) but this particular thread deserves a post of its own. I suppose if I was a die-hard Rhizomer I'd comment on the thread itself, but then only other Rhizome subscribers would see it. And part of the irony of this artist/art institution battle is that even if you make it to Mass MoCA to see the odd installation, you'll probably have no idea who the artist is or the history of his relationship to the museum because they can't use his name thanks to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, protecting artists from bad publicity. But you should know about this guy.

To be fair, I've only skimmed the various articles about the controversy, and I don't know why I tend to side with the big bad institution. Maybe because artists are spoiled brats?! Granted, I'm sure the Museum is guilty of many of the claims in the artist's long list of demands, but dude, get over yourself! For starters, I don't think it's fair that only the museum be flexible and accommodating in its collaboration with the artist. Why are artists allowed - even expected - to be "fussy"? The Boston Globe's op ed piece by Ken Johnson basically rests its argument, in favor of the artist, on the artist's right to fall anywhere he or she chooses along a continuum of fussiness.

One would hope that a museum thus engaged in artistic collaboration would understand and adapt to what kind of artist it is dealing with in any given project. Some artists are less fussy than others about how their concepts are executed. What may seem to museum workers a perfect solution to a given problem may not necessarily be acceptable to an artist who has an extremely exacting vision of what he is trying to achieve. Anyone familiar with B├╝chel's past work might guess that he would be one of the fussier, more demanding artists.

That's like repeatedly excusing the jerk at work doling out the sexual harassment day after day because, well, "that's just the way he is." The museum obviously should've known it was dealing with one of the fussier artists out there and expected their budget to be exceeded by over double the amount originally agreed upon. Duh.

Christoph Buchel is known for incorporating found objects into his massive, crazy-ass installations. Okay, but how is a house, purchased for $100,000, a "found object"? Man, I'd like to find me a $100K house...

Johnson goes on to describe the quasi-legal unveiling of the unfinished installation as:
A show that admits no responsibility for the project's failure on the museum's part and that affirms popular perceptions of our most innovative contemporary artists as frauds and charlatans?

Yeah, but isn't the artist affirming popular perceptions of contemporary artists as spoiled, rotten primadonna brats, crazy geniuses that won't take no for an answer?

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